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Poems By Poet Patti Masterman  10/31/2014 3:20:39 AM
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They say we stand on the shoulders of giants

It's said that we stand on the shoulders of giants;
Of ancestors ceding to us their genetic heritage, their traits:
I feel the truth of it, each time I walk to the garage
And stumble again over that pile of ashes; by the tipped over bucket
I could almost swear it's great great Grandpa,
Caught in the barn fire and burned too badly to keep living;
But he'd already passed on his genes.

And next the old well; grows some ivy, thick along the bricks-
Great Aunt Florence it must be; escaped from her nearby plot
Over by the Lilac bush;
Must have been Granny Bennett, planted that purple monstrosity
To make herself more at home on the new homestead-
Taken there against her better judgment, she felt at the time;
Though if she planted flowers, their bulbs are long since wizened away.

And the scraps of her silky embroidery thread
Lie scattered over the floor of the shed
Where their old belongings were once stored;
Rat and moth-eaten because after so many years
Nobody could figure out who should have what;
And some leftover blackened jars of canned vegetables and fruit
From extinct gardens and fruit orchards.

And underneath all that, ancient dust of their shoes
And pollen from long ago plants:
They, who still repose in their once-fine Sunday best
In the little walled-off lot at the back; no doubt happy
To be free at last, of the never ending work with the hands;
Complacent as forget-me-nots, in snug earthen pots,
Probably would be glad they can't see the weeds now.
Patti Masterman



Victorian Death Portrait: A Mother and Four Sisters

From someplace too far to travel,
Sit four sisters and their mother, kneeling for a picture:
One of them's dead, but for the portraits sake,
They have arranged her there, in an ingenious pose.
The only telling fact, is how her head lies upon her knees,
While the rest are staunchly upright, all squatting in a neat line.
Her dark eyes remain open, swallowing despair,
As only the dead know how to do so well and so unashamedly.

The front of the train is formed by the mother,
Smiling sadly back at the eldest daughter,
A tall, gaunt strong looking girl with sun-burnished hair,
Who smiles evenly in reply. The dead one's knees rests
Against her own back,
And there seems some secret hidden behind their smiles,
Which one is afraid to probe.

The dead girl is next, hunched over, arms on knees, and behind her,
Propping her sister up with thick, chubby knees, is another sister,
This one heavyset, sweating, constrained with effort-
Every feature straining to the task: keeping her sister upright,
From falling over to one side or the other.
She has the same dark hair as the dead one, who was much smaller,
Perhaps having withered away before death, from an illness.

Behind the larger girl, as though nearly forgotten,
Is a little mouse of a girl; with paler colored hair, like the front sister,
And a fearful look is upon her face, as she keeps her head ducked safely
Behind the larger girls back, which she clings tightly against-
Perhaps blocking in this way the appearance
Of her dead sister, in front of them.

Behind the family are many miles of prairie, broken only by the fence;
Some fence long ago rusted to nothingness,
As they themselves are long turned to soot or dust.
The invisible house probably completely vanished too,
Whether it were of sod or rocks or wood,
Giving no hint as to even where it stood.
This single, slowly and painfully frozen moment,
Out of the whole of their strangely enigmatic lives-
Of beauty, vigor, industry, hope and courage-
Is all that remains now.
Patti Masterman




A very mean and bicked witch
She makes me cry, she makes me itch
The wickedest witch you ever saw
Your eyes will water and your skin will crawl
She loves to give the SLY reply
And the not so sincere SIGH
She's watching you just like a HAWK
For SIGNS of weakness or dry rot
She'll UTILIZE to the full degree
ANY sloven or careless decree
To the worst recipient she will FLY
And vexing them for reason WHY
YOU would declare such a horrid thing
It makes her practically begin to SING
She takes the statement and she RUNS away
Even though you never MEANT to say
You'll be ruined as her LIPS start moving
Your innocence you'll NOT be proving
Better just SEAL your mouth up fast
And don't even mutter ONE last gasp
If you must die, better it be ALONE
Than being clawed at the SOUL and bone
For one last tidbit that she can USE
To fully flesh out her latest RUSE
It's true she's got ONE purpose in life
To create havoc, DESPAIR and strife
And when she dies, I PITY hells minions-
Then THEY'LL have to listen to her pointless opinions.
Patti Masterman



Brain vs Heart

When they look at the brain and the heart
They can render the physical body transparent
Like a ghost appearing on video film
And they can see that the heart
Has an electrical field signature
Sixty times that of the brain

The heart is an indefatigable engine
A rotary mechanized spark plug
Always reverberating the ether- by comparison
The brain is a silent, contemplative bystander
Generating little signal, consuming little current
But they depend on one another

Much as we depend on each other-
Without the brain as overseer
The heart would slow down till it stopped
Or it might speed up faster and faster
Till it broke down; like a diesel engine
With gasoline poured in as fuel, instead

And without the heart as pump
The brain would gradually cease to function
Like letters fading in a once flooded book
Like genetic code with letters gone missing
Like a computer losing electricity-
Until it's current of soul has all leaked away.

(Heart electric field signature sixty times that of the brain)
Patti Masterman
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Poems By Poet Patti Masterman